Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine efforts ramping up with eligibility expanding

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: April 06, 2021 06:29 PM
Created: April 06, 2021 05:46 PM

Expanded eligibility means ramped-up efforts to get vaccines into as many arms as possible across the Northland.

This week both Michigan and Wisconsin expanded eligibility for everyone 16 and older to get vaccinated. Minnesota also expanded eligibility last week.

Kim Pearson, the administrator at Essentia Health's St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, said they are taking both Minnesota and Wisconsin residents currently and will be getting busier with eligibility expanding to more people so she said it's important to be patient and persistent in this process. 

"It all depends on the allocation from the state. We fill out a survey for the state of Wisconsin every two weeks and let them know the number of vaccines that we could potentially give for the following week but that doesn't always mean we're gonna get what we say we could give. Then on Wednesday the week before we get an email letting us know what our allocation will actually be and then the vaccine arrives some time on Monday and we don't really have a say in which type of vaccine we are going to get. Once we know what our allocation is for the week then we open that number of slots on our schedule," said Pearson.

Pearson said about 10,000 Moderna vaccine first and second doses have been administered at the Superior clinic so far.

Pearson also mentioned how Phizer is the only vaccine approved for ages 16 and older since Moderna and Johnson and Johnson is approved for only those 18 and older. Pearson said they haven't gotten any shipments of the Phizer vaccine yet at the Superior clinic so for now they aren't able to give shots to that age group.

Pearson also continues encouraging folks to sign up for a vaccine appointment online or by calling their clinic.

Something Pearson said they are getting excited about is the new COVID-19 vaccine clinic coming to Wessman Arena that will open more shot opportunities and offer more space than what they currently have at the Superior clinic.

"We are space constrained whereas Wessman is a huge space. A lot of people do have difficulty with mobility and being able to have that large parking lot and a handicap accessible building will also be really good for people," said Pearson.

Douglas County Public Health Officer Kathy Ronchi said more details on the Wessman vaccine clinic will be announced Wednesday but said they are looking forward to partnering with the state and UWS to bring this clinic to Superior later this month.

People are encouraged to check back frequently for open slots because Pearson said sometimes they get last-minute extra doses or cancelled appointments.

"As soon as we get notified that we're going to receive extra doses and that's not only in Superior but also at Ashland, Hayward and Spooner, we immediately open up those spots for people to be able to schedule into so I think it's important that people do check back frequently," said Pearson.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

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